In its infancy Maninism lacked a conciliar tradition, or indeed much of any governing traditions. The High Ward's authority was, theoretically at least, absolute. This caused considerable friction within the Faith and between the Faith and the secular world at times, but it managed well enough for centuries. The first Synod (though it was not at the time called such) was an extraordinary measure called by the High Ward Risadri to try coordinate some sort of defense of Maninism during the terrible crisis after the Immolation. It was apparently intended as a one-off measure; certainly there were no indications to the contrary. But it set a precedent, and when the Airani Rosh attempted to destroy the unity of the Faith over theological disputes, the High Ward knew exactly what had to be done. The Second Synod of Sirasona, summoned to deal with the crisis, laid the groundwork for much that was to come after. Its notable contributions included enshrining the supremacy of the Faith over any secular ruler, defining once and for all the status of the Haradim, and perhaps most importantly establishing the principle that a general Synod of the Faith should be the ultimate authority on matters pertaining to the Faith. In the decades that followed, there would be many more Synods. In the tumultuous intellectual and theological climate preceding the stabilization of the Order system, the Faith found itself having to summon Synods with increasing regularity, and as the boundaries of the Faith expanded this became increasingly a logistical nightmare. Finally at the Third Synod of Gesta it was proposed to establish a smaller, permanent body to handle the more routine details, so as to avoid the tremendous hassle of summoning a Synod every time time one Order disputed with another. Of course, then another Synod had to be summoned to hash out the details, but at that Seventh Synod of Sirasona a consensus was reached and the Concourse established. Since the establishment of the Concourse and the transfer of much of the authority of the Synod to the Synothal Orders, it has proved unnecessary to summon another Synod, but the principle remains in the event that the Faith encounters an issue of overwhelming importance.
Although each Synod was nominally unique, persistent factions quickly became apparent. Low-level Wards and those Orders tied more closely to the craftsmen and farmers formed a broad and long-lasting coalition inspired by the intellectual efforts of the Sartaskori and dedicated to securing the liberation of the Faithful from constraints imposed by secular leaders, while refocusing the Faith on advancing towards Terminus by the concrete means of improving the lot of the people. This faction came to be known as Smithists, due to their habit of meeting in the backrooms of shops on the Street of Blacksmiths in SIrasona. Broadly speaking, the opposite end of the spectrum was formed by Wards close to the secular power and Orders tied to the old Houses, who did not want such a far-reaching overhaul of society. These came to be known as the Golden Party, from their own habit of meeting in the palatial House estates on the Golden Avenue in Sirasona. The Smithist agenda ultimately carried the day in most ways, but usage of the terms continued even after the age of Synods came to a close, although in present times all but the most Gilded of men are blacker than the Smithists of two centuries ago.
Partial List of SynodsEdit
- First Synod of Sirasona - organized the counteroffensive against the Aitahists
- Second Synod of Sirasona - established the conciliar principle, enshrined the Haradim, deposed the Airani Rosh
- Fourth Synod of Pamala - codified the relationship between Eskarites and the High Ward, confirmed Sadorishi privileges in the Pale
- Third Synod of Gesta - summoned to deal with a dispute between Sadorishi and Alonites; the idea of the Concourse first mooted
- Seventh Synod of Sirasona - established the Concourse, defined the roles of the Interlocutors; most recent Synod